Exciting, book-shaped gifts

Christmas has been moved earlier in the calendar again this year – as it seems to be, progressively, every year.

So with surprising few days to go until we have to hand over presents which show we have an understanding of the life and interests of the recipients, here’s our annual guide to the books of 2016. These are books that everyone at Verbal Identity has enjoyed turning to for insight and inspiration, and we think you will too.

Here’s our list (all with clickable links so you don’t have to go out in the cold).


 

The book for the CEO who’s asked you “But what would Steve Jobs do?” one too many times.

Alibaba“Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built” by Duncan Clark.

Remember 1999 when we were all partying hard and saying things like “China: country of the next Millennium”. That year, Jack started Alibaba. 17 years later, Jack’s empire is worth $160bn. Clark’s guide to the rise of the company and the man behind it is also   a guide to the new country that produced them both.

 

 

The book for the brother-in-law who’s something in the City. Or is it Mayfair these days?

shakers“Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business” by Rana Foroohar.

Have you noticed that every time you’re introduced to someone in a smart bar or restaurant, they don’t do anything – they’re financing something, instead? This is the   book that explains how finance has come to dominate the US economy and political thinking. The results haven’t just been boring bar room conversations, but growing   inequality and the slower rate of innovation.

 

The book for the annoying 50-something guy at the ad agency who’s always wearing the latest athleisure gear.

100 yr“The 100-year Life: Living and Working in the Age of Longevity” by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott.

Have you noticed that every time you’re introduced to someone in a smart bar or restaurant, they don’t do anything – they’re financing something, instead? This is the book that explains how finance has come to dominate the US economy and political thinking. The results haven’t just been boring bar room conversations, but growing inequality and the slower rate of innovation.

 

The book for the person in your family that respects great writing.

zero k

“Zero K” by Don DeLillo

Don is Verbal Identity’s favourite writer. Or is it Nietzsche? Or Dr Seuss? Anyway, this time Don (now aged 80) writes a beautiful novel set in a cryonics clinic. Sparse style. Super stylish. I’d happily read a note he left out for the milkman if I could.

 

 

 

 

 

The book for the person that always questions why men act the way they do.

All that man is“All that Man Is” by David Szalay.

According to one description, this book looks at nine different men, each at a tricky stage of life. The stories, amusing and worrying, range from those of a happy-go-lucky Interrailer to a middle-aged Dane. But I’d like to know, what isn’t a tricky stage of life for a man?

 

 

 

 

The book for the artistic one (at home or around the office).

animals book“Animals” by Ingela P Arrhenius

Surprisingly, it’s a book about animals that hasn’t been written by a comedian, minor Royal or celebrity-prisoner. Instead it’s a ginormous picture book full of wonderfully drawn graphic animals. If you’re not a child, you should probably find one this Christmas so you can sit down for half an hour and legitimately enjoy yourself.

 

 

The book for the fashionable friend who always has time in the morning to make a considered decision about what they’re wearing.

inside vogue“Inside Vogue: A Diary of my 100th Year.” By Alexandra Shulman.

You think that editing the world’s most stylish publication is all catwalks and catfights? Think again. It’s catwalks, catfights and sending ‘bin day’ reminders from Milan. This is the book on how to keep up with real life while keeping up standards at work.

 

 

 

The book for the one person who’s smart enough to always get your jokes.

cyclist“The Cyclist Who Went out in the Cold” by Tim Moore.

Cycling isn’t the new golf, despite what everyone else says. Cycling is funny. And the funniest cyclist on Earth is Tim Moore. This is his account of cycling 9000km across Europe on the EV13 bike route from the Arctic Circle to the Black Sea.

 

 

 

 

And finally, the book you buy yourself, you crazy, crazy kid.

originals“Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant.

How do you champion a great idea? How do you outmanoeuvre groupthink in big organisations? Here’s how: just pick up this great book, turn the phone off and give yourself some time to read and think.

 

 

 

 

Before we go, thanks to everyone who’s helped make 2016 such a great year. If you want to meet up in 2017 to share thoughts about the power of language for brands, just email Chris.